Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world to the Father…
A great authority declares that "Peter lives today in the person of the Pope." Then he has changed his conviction on the present subject, if we can accept the Rev. Newman Hall's account of the ceremonies of "Maundy Thursday." "Thirteen persons personated the apostles. They were dressed in white flannel, and were seated on an elevated platform in the south transept, which had been arranged for the ceremony, with galleries of ascending seats for lady spectators, who came in the prescribed costume. Descending from his throne after the benediction, the Pope was divested of his gorgeous outer vestments, and appeared as if in a very large flannel dressing gown, fastened with a cord round the waist; a towel of fine cloth, trimmed with lace, having been tied on him, he walked slowly to the nearest apostle, whose right foot, evidently well washed beforehand was already bare. The stocking had been previously cut so as, without any trouble or delay, to be removed sufficiently for the purpose at the precise moment. Everything was done to facilitate his Holiness in the arduous duty which now awaited him. The apostles were seated at such a convenient elevation that He was under no necessity of stooping. A sub-deacon on his right raised the apostle's foot, over the instep of which a second attendant poured a little water, which fell into a silver-gilt basin, held by a third; while a fourth, carrying thirteen towels in a silver basin, handed one of them to his Holiness, who passed it over the foot, which he then kissed. Another officer in waiting was a bearer of nosegays, one of which he then handed to the Pope, who presented it to the apostle, together with two medals from a purse of crimson velvet fringed with gold, borne by the Papal treasurer. The rest were then similarly served; and the whole was done so expeditiously, that in a very few minutes the immense crowd were rushing off to be present at the next ceremony. So does the Pope fulfil what has been called the proudest of titles, "Servus servorum Dei." Not only at Rome, however, has this act of our Lord been regarded as the institution of a religious rite rather than the display of an example to be followed spiritually. Many humble Christian societies have adopted this view, and still we find that some devout people are earnest for it. Such worthies, in making the mere sign a resting place of thought, remind us of the case feigned by an old British sage, of a belated and weary traveller, who, on coming up to an hostelry, ready to die for want of a night's lodging, took no notice of the inn, but "embraced the signpost."
(C. Stanford, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
WEB: Now before the feast of the Passover, Jesus, knowing that his time had come that he would depart from this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.